An Antifascist Autumn


In the next two weekends there are four far-right demonstrations coming up, all of which need countering by antifascists.

On SAT 4 OCT the revivified corpse of the National Front will drag its aging bones to Newcastle, meeting at Grey’s Monument between 13:00 and 15:00, this comes on the back of their recent outings in Dover and Rotherham. Recent activity of the resurrected NF includes their first “anti-grooming” demo in Newcastle in May 2014 – the photo  below shows their numbers.

Although never completely inactive, the NF have not been able to pull these kind of numbers on the street for a long time. Even more recently we have seen NF’ers in Rotherham and Dover, where they have been exploiting the issues of child abuse and immigration to gain publicity and support. AFN-affiliates North East Antifascists have called for a mobilisation to stop them, gathering at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle at 11:00 sharp. All antifascists should make a special effort to attend as the NF seem to be growing for the first time since the 80’s. This is an unwelcome development that needs to be beaten back.

Nick Griffin and Paul Pitt standing with the NF in Dover recently.

Similarly to the NF, Britain First have also been riding the wave of public outrage following the Rotherham abuse scandal, however, BF seem more intent on capitalising on this and continue to shamelessly prostitute these tragedies for a cheap fix of online support and minor popularity, just like the bin-bag-dwelling, publicity junkies they are. Surprisingly, they have called for a demo on SAT 4 OCT, to meet at Westgate Car Park (fun times…), in Rotherham (postcode S60 1BD), at 13:00. This is strange since their last foray into Rotherham included five or so of them harassing a confused receptionist in a council building, ending up with them being chased out by other factions of the far-right. If you can stand the sickeningly inappropriate epic music, the video below shows a clip from their (much longer) promo video of them in the council building.

The South Yorkshire pigs have detailed the planned demo route on their website, stating that “200 people are expected to attend the event, which will include a short march through Rotherham via Corporation Street and Bridgegate to All Saint’s Square where there will be speeches. The group will then proceed to College Street and High Street before marching back to Westgate.” I doubt that BF will pull these sorts of numbers, however, the combined rhetoric of nationalism and Islamophobia surrounding the Rotherham scandal should attest to the importance of not underestimating the far-right, and to countering them on the streets, especially when they are riding a wave of public fear whilst sounding the horn of populism.

On SAT 11 OCT there a two far-right demonstrations: the Scottish Defence League in Dundee and the EDL in Birmingham. The SDL are rumoured to have been behind some of the trouble that kicked off in Glasgow on the night of the referendum. The Edinburgh Against the Racist SDL page has posted a statement of unity in which they describe past SDL demonstrations in Dundee, stating that  “the SDL held placards of the ‘Swastika’ emblem of the openly racist and Nazi Greek party, ‘Golden Dawn’.” The UAF have made a call out for countering them, to meet in City Square in Dundee at midday, 12:00, on Sat 11 Oct. Follow @UAFScot on twitter for more information.

SDL and Friends of Golden Dawn in January of last year, Edinburgh.

Moving on, Birmingham is once again to play host to the racist shit-shower that is a national EDL demonstration. Last year’s demo ended in running battles between police and fascists, in what has been described as class A scum-on-filth action, leading to numerous arrests and handful of violent disorder convictions.

This time around, antifascists from groups such as UAF, AFN and MDL are mobilising against them. On Sat 11 Oct the EDL are meeting at 12:00 in Birmingham city centre, the location of their demonstration will be released by them (and updated here) 2-3 days before. The counter demo is meeting at 11:00 in Victoria Sq. in the centre of  Birmingham.

It’s important that these fascist mobilisations are countered, especially in North, as the far-right often views the North as it’s territory. The EDL has been experiencing something of a resurgence in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal, and although its not been as big as the “Lee Rigby boost”, it has the potential to be more long-lasting. The fact that long-dormant groups such as the NF have been able to use this to catapult themselves back into activity, and gain some popularity among disillusioned EDL types, is even more concerning. We must move past the dangerous-notion that the EDL is dead and that antifascism is no longer relevant, as this is allowing them breathing space to grow again.

See you on the streets, no pasaran!